How to Fix a Fishing Reel that Won’t Lock

Do you know how to fix a fishing reel that won’t work? I know you are looking for the easiest and shortest process of fixing a fishing reel. There have three main reasons why the coil is not locked. Mostly, it happens from a broken spool or bail.

Similarly, this problem may occur to the drag system or anti-reverse system. Whatever the problem, you have no reason to worry. Because I will give you a complete guide, keep in mind, I’m writing with a focus on a spinning reel, but this guide will do the same for other reels. Let’s a dive into the article.

Are you facing problem with spinning reel locked up? each spinning reel has a u-shaped metal piece called a bail. A bail works for moving from one side to another side. Bond is the most essential for fishing line casting. The bail allows the spool to be directed at the line so that the track can control from the reel. If the bail wire is closed, then the spindle won’t move to that direction where the line comes out from the coil. When the bail closes, the spool will run only for retrieving the line. It is an anti-reverse process. Similarly, a spinning reel locking problem can occur from the anti-reverse or dragging system. Besides, it often happens for line twisting or tangling. It is essential to know how to use a spinning reel.

Fixing the Broken Spool or Bail Wire issue

Bail wire and broken spool wire are mainly responsible for not locking your reel. If the spools, gear or bail wire is broke, then it can stop the coil from being secured.

So, let’s know how to fix a broken spool or bail. You need three kits.

• A small screwdriver

• Two pliers

• Necessary replacement parts

First step:

First of all, you have to take your screwdriver to lose the little screw which is generally using to keep up the bail wire. And remove the screw. In the meantime, remove only one screw from the pivoting side. You can transfer both screws from two sides of the pivot according to the spinning reel type. Be careful to remove the screw. Because these may need later while you will reassemble the reel. Otherwise, need some new to replace with the spinning coil.

Second Step:

After removing the screws, the first task is to check the bail wire. You must have to notice the damaged sign. Depending on a few crucial factors, you should decide to replace a new bail wire or reassemble the older one. If you found a rusty snapped, bent on the cable, or the cable has shapeless then you should replace a new one. All of the signs may lock the bail wire on the place.

Third Step:

If you think that the bail wire is ok, I suggest checking the line roller. Maybe the line roller has already broke. Often spinning reel won’t work for line roller damage or corrosion. Firstly, remove the screw which is using to hold the line roller in the spinning reel. Now check the line roller is ok or not. If necessary, then replace it again.

Fourth Step:

Is your line roller and bail wire both are perfect? So, what should you do now? In this case, you would check the springs. Frequently it may happen for springs problem. Spring is a common issue which can create a spinning reel, not locking. The spring must have perfectly good. Besides, there should be no rust, kinked or damaged. If you notice such any problem, then must replace a new spring.

Fifth Step:

When you have completed the exam all of these processes, you can re-arrange the spinning reel. So, set the screws again and check the reel is open or not?

Are you still confused about why the reel won’t lock? No need to tension more! Because there are other steps, you should try to solve this problem. So, let’s go to the next level without delay.

Drag system issue solving

Drag system help to pull up the more substantial fish without breaking the line. At the same time, the fish is also making a reverse pressure to leave the track. In this time, drag system stops the rope from pulling freely. It can be another reason for your reel won’t lock. Typically, finding out the drag system problem and fixing the issues may be a tricky task. Especially when you are using the reel for saltwater fishing but not clean it periodically. First of all, check the drag system is low or proper setting. The low setting is mainly responsible for open the line very easily and quickly. Useful to solve this issue soon; otherwise, it may create great danger in drag system later.

How To Fix Anti Reverse On Spinning Reel

The anti-reverse system will prevent your reel from turning in the opposite direction. A reel may move to the back due to the drag. But it is annoying to a large number of anglers. So, they love to use an anti-reverse switch on the spinning reel.

Some spinning reels come with a built-in anti-reverse system. There may occur some common issues on the anti-reverse mechanism. Anti-reverse is a complicated system where have a combination of small gears and springs and huge miniature.

For this, you have to apart all of the small gear and miniature. Then check out each of the parts to know the problems. But how to fix a anti reverse on a spinning reel? We found two common problems on spinning reel no anti reverse. Here are two step by step guide to fix the anti-reverse problem. Likewise, we have covered the solutions.

Problem 1: Spring Displacement Inside the Reel 

It is a sensitive spinning reel problem happening inside the reel. How to repair fishing reels for this problem? It is quite simple but tricky. You need to take off the drag adjustment part from the spinning reel. Then apart from the spool and frame carefully.

Now notice on the reel body. We mean the part under the spool. You will find a tiny spring on the reel body straightforward to the reel handle. Most of the time, your spinning reel anti reverse will not work for spring displacement. So, take a subtle pen to place the spring in the right place.

Then assemble the spinning reel spool and drag adjustment part. And check out again the anti-reverse system. It will work correctly.

Problem 2: Loosening Up the Anti-Reverse Hammer Piece

It is a little bit tricky task. But you need to take off the internal parts of the spinning reel. Follow the previous processes to disassemble the small gears. Focus on the leaching gear and the hammer piece of the coil. You will see that the latching gear catches the anti-reverse system. And you can correctly understand the troubleshooting point.

Hence, disassemble the internal part. You will get a lot of tiny gears. However, there have a small bushing. And also, a silver color ring has inside the bushing. This ring is slipping from the bushing teeth. What should you do to solve this problem? Let's know.

It is essential to close the gear teeth with a permanent coating. Remember to use a small amount of adhesive layer to slide the bushing gear. Never use an excess sheet. The excess surface can occur an adverse impact. Then let it be dry for 24 hours. Otherwise, the coating won't stable. So, you can reassemble the reel after a specific period.

Now time to teste the anti-reverse lever. Start the latching gear again. And try to use the anti-reverse system. If you notice the latching equipment, don't catch the anti-reverse handle. Then you can make sure the process is successful.

Problem 3: Broken or cracking 

Suppose your anti-reverse system has faced a broken or cracked problem. Then you may need to replace a new anti-reverse system. However, this guide is excellent to solve the mostly happened problem. Many have to face Shimano spinning reel anti reverse not working. We recommend fixing the Shimano spinning reel reverse system in similar ways.

The Cautions:

  • Remember the exact place for each reel parts during de assembles proper tools to take off the sensitive parts of the reel
  • Put the tiny parts carefully to get them during reassemble
  • You can use a scotch tape piece to put the small gears

Line issue fixing

In fewer case, your reel won’t lock for some line issues. Although it is not a big deal and more comfortable to find out. But the good practice is not to leave the fact. Because great things can happen from a tiny matter. Most importantly, a best fishing line can make your fishing easier and enjoyable.

Line twist:

Twisting a line is a prevalent issue. It may happen for long term use. Naturally, a wire is getting twisted after a long period. Similarly, a range can turn because of not proper setting or lessen. However, you have to set it up correctly or replace it again. Keep in mind to set up a whole new line.

Braided Line Slippage:

The braided line can’t stretch much. As a result, it occurs tangling or slipping. Maybe it will not always work as per you like. I have a good suggestion for you to stop the line slipping. If you set a few mono filament braids, the slipping and tangling will reduce.

Reel size:

It is a big deal, maybe you have chosen a wrong size reel and facing a problem that it doesn’t lock. In this case, change the coil and set a perfect fishing reel size.

Proper learning on fishing accessories is essential to enjoy a fishing trip. I think every passionate fishing lover should know reel and rod set up, how to spool a spinning reel and proper casting.

Connecting and spooling the reel:

If you can compare and spool correctly, then there have fewer possibilities to won’t lock. Here is some secure method you can learn how to set up a spinning reel.

  • Open the spinning reel bail
  • Connect one fishing line around the line
  • Make a knot tie the reel and line
  • Tie one more knot to match another piece of line
  • Remove the excess part of the line at ¼.”
  • Close the bail
  • Wrapped the wire through the reel when you will need.

Rod Fixing issue

Most of the angler tie or rope the rod very quickly. But I think it needs proper time to string the rod. You have to hold the end of the line during bail opening. Then carefully put it into all of the guides. Now tie the knot and drag the knob.

Tie the knot:

Even though there is a massive alternative of the fishing knot. But you have to about all of the knot and how to tie a fishing knot correctly? As per the fish size and the fishing, the location has to tie the knot. Keep in mind that to catch the larger fish, you will need a secure knot.


1) Why is my reel not locking?

The main reason why your reel is not locked is the bail wire or broken spool.

The spinning reel problems can also happen with a fishing line, anti-reverse or drag system.

2) What is the purpose of anti-reverse on a fishing reel?

Spinning reel has an anti-reverse feature which works for preventing the coil of backwards turning. Some reels have an automatic anti-reverse switch. Anti-reverse works for back-reel instead of fighting with larger fish.

Final Verdict

Hopefully, now you understand how to fix a fishing reel that won't lock. Finding out the internal gears of the fishing reel and rod is a little bit difficult. As you are interested to know, you can gain all about it. Maybe, it seems complicated first, but how to fix a fishing reel that won't reel in will be transparent to you after few days. Proper knowledge of fishing gear will give you a fun day on the water. Have you anything to know about this post? Then let me know. If you feel this post is useful, you can share it with your friends and family.

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